Bells and Whistles



Across all disciplines, many instructors have adopted the use of video in instructional settings including face-to-face classrooms, blended learning environments, and online courses.Video is important part of instructional design but it is important to make video fully accessible. The Example provides an idea for incorporating video in an educational setting. Learn more about Creating and Selecting Video and how to support Student-Generated Video in the classroom.


Professor Reed is prepping for his upcoming course called Economics of Ocean Resources. He wants to use a video on the first day of class as a way to introduce the subject of ocean economics. To find video that is licensed for open use, he searches You Tube through the Creative Commons Search Tool. He selects this video (see below) which is short and engaging, and provides just enough context to launch into deeper content. Importantly, the video includes captions and a transcript. (This video happens to have open captions, but many You Tube videos include closed captions which can be turned on by clicking the “CC” icon.) Professor Reed plans to show the video in class, but like all the videos he uses, he also posts it on the learning management system where students can log in to view it at any time.

"Ocean Economy" is an example of an accessible instructional video licensed for re-use.


Creating and Selecting Videos

Instructors may want to create videos for a variety of reasons:

· record a physics or chemistry demonstration with narration

· walk through a problem set for students to watch at any time

· use screen capture to walk students through the materials on the course website

· record a lecture with slides to introduce or review a topic

· record a “think aloud” presentation where students can hear the instructor apply different processes or steps that he/she is teaching

· demonstrate certain tools or machines that students need to learn how to operate

· leverage Case-Base Learning

· walk through an important relationship between concepts or a complex diagram

Instructors may also want to select existing video for a certain purpose:

· elaborate on a subject to spark student discussion

· prompt students to draw connections or compare topics

· teach complex relationships, systems, or phenomena that are better demonstrated through animations or models

· highlight cultural or historical artifacts, people, or concepts

Student-Generated Video

Evidence suggests that many students view video creation as a valuable and engaging activity1. However, like all instructional assignments, students will vary in their perception and response to an assignment that involves video creation. For instance, some may find this a great way to demonstrate their knowledge while thinking creatively, while others may feel so intimidated by the idea of creating a video that they will not be able to convey their understanding effectively. As the UDL principles suggest, consider using multimedia as an option for students to demonstrate knowledge, but offer other means as a way to avoid inadvertently privileging, excluding, or disengaging learners. When possible, teach principles of good video production, including how considerations of content and target audience shape the structure and delivery of the content in the video.

As an assignment, instructors may ask students to:

· record a teach-back session where students are asked to explain concepts in their own words

· conduct a video interview with someone in the field

· record quick responses to open-ended questions with a tool like Vine

· create a video blog entry

· record an experiment and summarize findings

· create a mini-documentary on a related subject

· create a multimedia presentation and present it to the class

· remix and adapt existing videos with the appropriate Creative Commons license to demonstrate understanding

Optimizing Video for Learning

· Allow students to have direct access to the video so that they can control playback features such as replay, fast-forward, playback speed, and pausing.

· Choose or create videos that are relatively short in duration or are divided into chapters or sections.

· Choose videos that are available with captions or that can be captioned by a provider. Captions are not only useful for those with auditory challenges, but can be useful for many learners, including those learning a new language, those accessing the video in a noisy environment, or those who prefer to read along as they listen.

· To be fully accessible to the greatest range of uses, transcripts should also be provided along with captions. Transcripts provide a text-based version of the content including audio descriptions of visual information and audio content (e.g., laughter, music). Screen reader users often prefer transcripts over listening to the audio content as it is a much faster way to access all of the information presented in the video.

· Student-created video should also be accessible.


1Greene, H., & Crespi, C. (2012). The value of student created videos in the college classroom–an exploratory study in marketing and accounting. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 5(1), 273-283.